Heavy Duty Trucking

SEP 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

Issue link: https://heavydutytrucking.epubxp.com/i/382090

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68 HDT • SEPTEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com for Volvo Trucks in North America. "We define truck-friendly as able to consistently fill at a 15- to 20-gallon- per-minute rate with recovery rates fast enough to fill a row of waiting trucks." Trillium CNG has deployed a pro- prietary fast-fill system it calls a hydrau- lic intensifier compressor to squeeze every possible cubic inch of CNG into customers' tanks at a rate similar to a liquid diesel pump. It's important to have reserve capacity at these facilities as well, especially at high-volume locations. "At most of the new stations retailers are building for trucks, Love's, for example, you'll get CNG at 14 gal- lons a minute," says Carrick. "You can't get diesel any faster than that. So the new stations, the new in- frastructure that's going in is very, very quick. Just as fast as LNG or diesel and you get a complete fill." Traditional slow-fill systems, where you hook up the truck and let the fuel trickle in overnight, are fine for refuse trucks that return to the yard at the end of a shift, but they are completely incompatible with trucks requiring a fast fueling experience. Some insiders see the growth of highway-accessible fast-fill sites as the tipping point that finally gets linehaul operators into the CNG game. And LNG, too LNG is less commonly used than CNG presently, but that doesn't imply it is not as good as CNG. It has its place in certain applications. LNG does suffer a cost penalty compared to CNG. There are addi- tional processes involved to liquefy and transport the fuel. It's a cryogenic liquid delivered by truck rather than pipeline. As well, Merritt Norton, CEO of Blu, an LNG distributor building inroads to trucking, say LNG is taxed at a higher rate than CNG. "LNG, like diesel, is taxed by liquid volume when it should be taxed by energy content," he says. "A gallon of diesel contains about 1.7 times the energy content, or BTUs, as LNG, yet of the comparison. You also have to consider range, tank space and weight on the truck, fuel availability and a few other things with LNG: • Service facilities need more elabo- rate (and more expensive) ventilation and methane detection systems than for CNG; • Depending on the engine, LNG may require a pump and a heat ex- changer to vaporize the liquid before it gets to the engine, which can add cost, weight and complexity; • The liquid has a limited storage life. It will begin to boil off inside the tank after a period of time if you aren't using the truck. LNG systems might be better suited to slip-seat operations where the truck runs around the clock. One application particularly well suited to LNG is the port opera- tions in California. Carrick says they are running about 800 trucks on natural gas at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. While the savings from using CNG com- pared to LNG would have been in the hundreds of millions of dollars over time, fueling 400-500 trucks a day on CNG just would not have been possible. "They are bringing in several trailer loads of fuel each day," he notes. "If you had a compressor station, the machin- ery and the storage to accommodate that number of trucks each day would be just monstrous – I don't know how you could put them on one piece of property. LNG absolutely is the answer there for high-speed fueling of huge number of trucks like that." That brings to mind the scene at a typical busy truckstop around supper- time. Who can say when natural gas might become popular enough to drive that kind of volume through a single truckstop? Nearly every sector in Class 7 and 8 is now embracing natural gas in some form. Volvo's Bio says the on-highway market has the highest potential for fuel savings, but the greatest dependence on infrastructure — not just for fuel, but also for service. they tax the two fuels at the same per gallon rate. The LNG consumer is pay- ing more tax than the diesel user for the amount of energy they buy." Norton says lawmakers are aware of the issue and have promised to resolve it, but they haven't a timetable. The cost spread between CNG and LNG will narrow somewhat, but it won't equalize the cost. You still have the production and transportation costs. That said, the cost/benefit of LNG is determined by the on-board storage capacity (range) and the availability of fueling infrastructure. There are other companies working to improve the LNG fueling infrastruc- ture. Clean Energy Fuels is working with Pilot Flying J to develop "Ameri- ca's Natural Gas Highway." Shell and TravelCenters of America earlier this year opened the first of what is planned to be a network of LNG lanes in the U.S.; and Pivotal LNG is working with fleets such as UPS. Tank-size for tank-size, LNG will get you further down the road than CNG, but onboard storage and therefore range is limited (see above) to about 600-650 miles. (For those unfamiliar with natural gas, the engines always burn the fuel in a gaseous state. The difference between liquid and compressed natural gas applies only to how it's transported and stored onboard the truck.) Norton points out that LNG tank systems weigh less and cost less than CNG tanks, but that's never the end LNG will get you further per pound and inch of fuel tank space. Two of the largest LNG saddle tanks will get you 600-650 miles in range. ALTERNATIVE FUEL

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